We welcome your Future of the Food Industry special report (November 30) as it highlights not only the importance of new technologies to agricultural production today, but also the need for increased investment in agricultural science if we are to meet the challenge of feeding a global population set to reach 9.5bn by 2050.
The UK has a proud history of excellence in agricultural research and development. However, in a competitive global market, companies will continue to fund R&D only if they are assured of a stable regulatory framework. The effects of overly precautionary regulation of agricultural technologies such as crop protection at the EU level are starting to be felt, with companies focusing their attention on providing parts of the world outside Europe with the technology to improve productivity in a sustainable way. For companies to invest in R&D here in the UK, they need a regulatory environment that fosters innovation and incentivises the development and adoption of new technologies in pest control and crop science.
Ensuring sustainable, productive farming is a global issue, but as the UK reshapes its agricultural policy following the outcome of the EU referendum there is an opportunity for the UK to lead the way in striking a sensible balance between protecting and enhancing the environment and, at the same time, supporting UK farmers to provide a healthy, safe, reliable and affordable food supply.
Nick von Westenholz
Crop Protection Association,
Peterborough, Cambs, UK